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Intel's Unison app gains helpful new PC-to-phone sharing powers

Intel Unison promoImage: Intel / Microsoft

Part of Intel’s Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” launch today included new features arriving on Unison, Intel’s cross-platform sharing and collaboration software utility that lets you connect your phone and your PC.

For a hardware company, the ongoing development attached to the Unison app is mildly surprising. In 2022, Intel transformed its Screenovate acquisition into Unison, and began making it a premium feature for its Evo brand of laptop and desktop PCs. Though Microsoft’s Phone Link still provides a richer experience in sending content between PCs, phones, and tablets, Unison does one thing that Phone Link doesn’t: talk to iPhones.

In fact, Intel wants Unison to be a universal app, able to connect the PC to any device.

Microsoft’s Phone Link allows you to interact with your phone’s home screen and apps while on a Windows PC. It doesn’t, however, really allow you to use a phone or a tablet as a second display. Unison will. David Feng, vice president of Intel’s Client Computing Group, showed off Unison’s new capabilities in a video Intel shared in advance of the Intel launch of the Core Ultra processors inside client notebooks, at an event in New York City.

Intel

In the video, Feng showed off how an iPad can be used as a separate display, moving a video that had been playing on one PC to the Apple tablet. He also showed off a second feature, universal control, where he was able to type and move the mouse on the PC and then move the mouse to the iPad and interact with the icons and apps, on that screen.

“So let’s just say I was in the middle of writing a note on my iPad without switching all the way to typing on my iPad. I can continue typing using my keyboard on the PC,” Feng said.

Unison is also adding an additional sharing option, called Swift Connect: an HTML glyph for those without a Unison app on their PC or phone. The glyph can be scanned with a camera app on a PC or phone, which will open up a connection for the user to download the file. All the handshake needs is for the user to compare an eight-character authentication code with the other user to verify the transaction.

Intel

Other manufacturers have done this. Samsung Multi Control and Second Screen allows you to control multiple Galaxy devices with your PC, allowing you to use your Galaxy Tab as a second screen. But those options are limited to Samsung devices.

There is a hidden catch in the Unison update, however. The new features will work with Core Ultra / Meteor Lake laptops only, at least at the beginning. The new features will be released in mid-February to April, Intel said. “So, first these new features will land on Meteor Lake platforms,” Feng said. “Soon, we’ll make them available for previous Evo platforms as well.”

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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